Reopening of AMIA Bombing Case in Argentina ‘Victory for Justice,’ Says Maker of Documentary on ‘Largest Pre-9/11 Terrorist Attack in Western Hemisphere’ (INTERVIEW)
The very fact that the case surrounding the July 18, 1994 car-bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires is being reopened is a victory for justice, the maker of a documentary film on the yet-to-be-solved mystery surrounding the attack and its aftermath told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Matthew Taylor, director, writer and producer of “Los Abandonados” – a movie about what he called the “largest terrorist attack in the Western hemisphere before 9/11” – was referring to the renewed investigation in Argentina into the role played by the country’s leadership in covering up the key suspected perpetrator, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“There are two separate but connected issues here,” said Taylor, whose film presents the many facets of the attack on the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), which left 85 people dead and hundreds wounded. “One is whether former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) prevented evidence that Iranian-backed Hezbollah was behind the bombing; the other is the murder – or suicide — of prosecutor Alberto Nisman mere hours before he was slated to testify before congress on his findings.”
According to a report on Wednesday by the Argentinian news site The Bubble,
The investigation into whether [CFK] covered up Iran’s alleged role in the…bombing will now fall into Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio’s lap, after Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas yesterday agreed to hand off the case.
The “cover up” case was begun by… Nisman, who famously died in January 2015 hours before he was meant to appear in Congress to speak about his investigation.
Judge Bonadio requested the “cover up” case’s files to use as consultation material for another case he’s investigating, which looks into whether Cristina and former Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman committed treason. The latter case was opened in 2015 after Clarín journalist Daniel Santoro revealed in his book “Nisman debe morir” (“Nisman Must Die”) the existence of an audio message in which Timerman can allegedly be heard telling AMIA officials that Iran was responsible for the attack.
Both cases — treason and cover up — were archived by Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas last year.
However, Luis Czyzewski and Mario Averbuch, the fathers of two women killed in the attack, last week managed to get Judge Bonadio to re-open the “treason” case after presenting new relevant evidence: that Timerman didn’t go to the Foreign Ministry’s legal department to draft the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] with Iran (that would have created a truth-seeking committee) but instead worked with … the [then] Deputy Director of the Federal Intelligence Agency…
“One unfortunate backlash of the whole Nisman murder case was that it overshadowed the AMIA bombing, which is still not solved,” Taylor said. “And we have to solve it and point the finger at Tehran. The message has to be: if you do business with Iran, the result is death and destruction.”
Argentinean affairs commentator Eamonn McDonagh told The Algemeiner that Judge Bonadio’s real motivation for the undertaking is his “determination to get CFK, by hook or by crook.” Nevertheless, he said, the reopening of the case is a very significant and positive development.
Where the relatively new government of President Mauricio Macri is concerned, both Taylor and McDonagh expressed cautious optimism.
“Among the measures taken by Bonadio are requests to the Foreign Ministry and the state intelligence service for all they have, classified or otherwise, on the negotiating of Argentina’s pact with Iran,” McDonagh said. “They won’t want to cough anything up, but if Macri orders them to, then they’ll have no choice; so this is a key test for Macri.”
“Macri is at least pointed in the right direction – even wanting to roll back parts of the MOU,” said Taylor, referring to the agreement between Argentina and Iran to conduct a joint investigation into the AMIA bombing – something that seemed ludicrous at the time, as Iran was the prime suspect behind the attack. After internal battles surrounding the legitimacy of the MOU, the Argentine judiciary declared it unconstitutional. Soon after assuming the presidency, Macri said he would not appeal the court’s decision.
Just by having the Macri government acknowledge the possibility of a cover-up over Iran, and that the information that Nisman was going to divulge may have gotten him killed, “is a win, even if nothing concrete emerges from the current re-examination,” he said. “Iran is funding terrorism across Latin America, and it’s better that there’s a guy at the helm who at least pays lip service to this fact.”
As The Algemeiner reported in March, on the 24th anniversary of the Israeli Embassy bombing in Buenos Aires, which occurred two years before the AMIA attack, Macri said in an interview with AP, “Everything that happened made us look weak in the world. But now we are determined to bring what happened to light.”